Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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(AKA-22: dp. 7,080; l. 426'; b. 58'; dr. 16'; s. 16.9 k.; cpl. 303; a. 1 5", 8 40mm., 10 20mm.; cl. Artemis)

The Greek goddess of wisdom and of women's crafts. She was also the patron goddess of Athens.

Athene (AKA-22) was laid down on 20 January 1944 under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1883) at Providence, R.I., by the Walsh-Kaiser Co., Inc.; launched on 18 June 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Emily Thornton; and acquired by the Navy and commissioned on 29 September 1944, Comdr. Edward R. Nelson, Jr., in command.

On 10 October, the attack transport got underway for shakedown training in the Chesapeake Bay. She left the east coast on 7 November, bound, via the Panama Canal, for Pearl Harbor. Athene reached Hawaii on 26 November and began a series of training exercises. The transport sailed for Eniwetok on 27 January 1945 and continued on to Saipan, arriving there on 11 February. Athene conducted two days of training exercises for troops scheduled to invade Iwo Jima. She sailed on 16 February, with officers and men of the 5th Marine Division embarked, and dropped anchor off Iwo Jima on the 19th. Athene began discharging her passengers on 27 February and got underway for Saipan the next day.

Athene returned to Pearl Harbor on 28 June to take on more supplies. She put back to sea on 12 July, bound for the Philippines with intermediate stops at Eniwetok and Ulithi. The attack transport anchored off Leyte on 30 July. For the duration of the war, she shuttled troops and cargo between islands in the Phililppine archipelago.

After Japan surrendered, she got underway on 7 September for Yokosuka. Athene was moored in Tokyo Bay on 18 September when, due to a typhoon, the ship collided with an LST. This necessitated a repair period at Yokosuka, which lasted through 1 October. One month later, Athene began a voyage back to the United States. She paused at Saipan to embark homeward-bound troops and finally reached San Francisco on 23 November. Athene returned to Saipan late in December to brine back more troops. While underway to the west coast, she developed boiler trouble and was diverted to Pearl Harbor on 14 January 1946 for repairs.

The attack cargo ship resumed her voyage on 18 January and moored at San Pedro, Calif., on 25 January. She then proceeded to San Francisco. Later that month, Athene was asssigned to Joint Task Force 1, which was the atomic bomb test unit at Bikini Atoll. Following her return from Bikini, Athene was decommissioned at Pearl Harbor on 17 June 1946. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 August 1947, and the ship was transferred to the Maritime Commission on 23 September 1947. She was sold in 1960 to the Union Minerals and Alloy Corp., of New York City, and scrapped.

Athene earned two battle stars for her World War II service.